Telecom Italia said in a brief statement that its board had not discussed a potential partnership with Hutchison Whampoa’s 3 Italy at a meeting this week, noting only that this had been postponed to a “future meeting”.

While the Italian incumbent previously said that it had set up a special committee to “verify within a short time” if a deal is an option, Reuters said that sources had claimed the transaction is short of momentum.

According to reports last month, TI’s board are divided on how to proceed with talks, not least due to question marks over how such a transaction would be valued.

TI’s recent decision to go ahead with a long-mooted plan to spin out its fixed network was seen as lessening potential political barriers, which may have resulted if control of what was deemed a national asset passed into foreign hands.

However, this separation is likely to take many months to complete.